Scot Steenson

I really don’t know where to start, but I’ll try to keep it short. All I can say is that my life has been one hell of a journey. One fucking adventure after another. Initially groomed as an Air Force brat, I transitioned to a contractors kid after my father retired from the Air Force. From my birth in Japan until I graduated high school in Turkey, I have traveled to many incredible parts of the world and met many fascinating human beings. Seen shit and did shit. An absolutely fascinating lifestyle.

Now I sit here at the tender age of forty… Two wonderful children, a failed marriage and on my third career. I constantly feel caught between two different worlds. The contrasts have been reason for my success and reason for my failure. Growing up with a unique lifestyle. Growing old in a more commonplace manner.

Traveling to over twenty five countries, living in three countries, traveling to forty seven states, living in six states… How does one claim identity? Maybe not having an identity is my identity. Can one be lost and found at the same time? I think so. It can be frustrating at times. When people seek conversation or friendship, it’s usually based on common grounds. But, I have almost nothing in common with the common American. Most of my fellow Americans, in my experience, aren’t concerned about the world beyond our walls. American football? Fixing up old cars? Watching reruns of the Jeffersons? Sorry, I didn’t grow up with any of that. How about we talk about Ottoman culture and it’s impact on the world? What’s Ottoman culture? Oh, well, nevermind. Lets just talk about the weather… I struggle to fit in, I struggle to be different.

Friendship is odd for me when I do find people I can relate with on some plane. Don’t get too close Scot, you never now when they will leave. Don’t get too close Scot, you never know when you will leave them. Ultimately, I find it rather sad. I don’t allow myself to get close to anyone and I don’t allow anyone to get too close to me. What’s to share when you can’t share souls?

Turkey was by far the most amazing time in my life it was intoxicating. The Turks were beautiful. The land was beautiful. Turkey was beautiful. During my time in Turkey I sought out as many experiences as I could. I learned the language fairly well and tried to meet locals. Maybe I’m wrong, but I felt my fellow classmates didn’t want to meet the locals. Our parties and trips never involved local Turks. This was strange for me to a degree. I had one life with my international friends, then I had my other life with my local Turkish friends. Many people lost out on meeting people from a fascinating culture.

One great gift I’ve received from my upbringing is the ability to ask “why.” I’m not religious because of the questions brought up while living overseas. I’m extremely patriotic because of the questions I asked myself while living overseas. It’s difficult to form solid opinions at times because I can see things from so many angles thanks to my upbringing.

2 replies
  1. Linda Wooten
    Linda Wooten says:

    Hi Scot, Great story and can so relate. I had similar experience also as overseas brat, except in reverse – We lived in Ankara for many years and our friends rotated every four years or so. After moving to the USA, going to college in Ohio (talk about culture shock after the experience of various cultures,etc) feeling alone/lonely, and just didn’t understand why the college kids did what they did – getting drunk, frat parties, roommate joining sorority, block parties (watching a roommate drinking alcohol which ate thru the bottom of the paper cup) I thought- so stupid. Reading stories about other overseas brats experiences, it’s helped me understand “where are you from?” question and how to answer it. After moving to Colorado I tell the person I am from Ohio so there is no more puzzled looks and questions. (Like the time in college I told the person I am from Turkey – and the questions were “DId you ride a camel to school?” and “Did you live in a mud hut?” How stupid were these American college kids was my thought.) I am so glad and really appreciate what a special childhood us overseas, etc brats had who grew up and lived overseas.I always have more global perspective and there is always a want/need to travel, whether it’s a road trip or by plane.

    I finally came to realization that it was a good thing I grew up in Turkey, knowing about other cultures, languages, food, people, holidays, and the history. So when someone tells you they are going to Athens for vacation, it’s not Greece, it’s GEORGIA, it’s another ah jeez here we go again..So maybe that’s why I am the happiest when I got the plane ticket in my hand, at the airport and on my/our way to another destination. And ready to take the road less traveled. And talk a mile a minute when I find out the person I’m talking to lived overseas also, ESPECIALLY when they lived in Ankara or K-town (Did you go to the House of Clocks. Remember the video store? Yes, well my brother was the manage of the store..).

    I will never forget when I would fly back to Ankara (by myself – which I thought all kids/teenager did) during college summer break and on my way to catch the connecting flight would stand in the middle of JFK airport and listen to all the different languages (compared to Dayton,Ohio) Music to my ears!!

    Staying in the USA after college has made me feel I'm in the American silo and feel I’ve lost the little bit of international connection I had back in the day.

    My husband and I have two more continents to go — Africa and Australia/New Zealand (yes, we went to Antarctica (gotta step on the continent, waving to it on the cruise ship doesn’t count). How we travel is a little different from when I did solo, but we still get to experience culture and food and ride the awesome fast TGV in France!

  2. Laura Potts
    Laura Potts says:

    Why must one have a neatly labeled identity? We are worldly. Our consciousness expands beyond the typical narrow minds of multiple generations of people who have rarely left a 50 mile radius.
    I do not find your ideas of friendship odd, but refreshing. I have found one person on the planet (so far) with whom I relate, a soul mate. A fellow traveler full of questions and seeking new experiences.
    Would you be so kind as to tell more of Turkey?

    “She doesn't search to be found. She searches to be lost.”

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